24 June 2009

City of Angels

17" x 11", watercolour and digital, 1999

Ah, City of Angels. I thought I was getting cool film noir but got a cheesy musical instead (Google it if you must). Still, it was fun to make the poster and associated images, mostly because the research consisted of watching real films noir and buying a great book on movie posters of the genre. I made tons of sketches and a few digital mock-ups.

For the final poster above, I made three separate watercolour paintings (one of the couple and one each of the two black and white heads) and composited them in Photoshop, where I also added the text. In true movie poster fashion, I wanted the actors names to be the top two names, but I lost that battle and had to use the characters' names instead. It looks fine, but it implies that "Kingsley and Stone" are the lead actors in the show. Oh, well...it's only community theatre...

By making the "angel" above half black and white and half colour, this mock-up is supposed to evoke the b&w ("movie" characters) vs colour ("real life" characters) concept of the show and is executed in a bit of a contemporary, rather than period, style. If this version was chosen, the final poster would have been painted, using a cast member for reference and not the model above.

This mock-up is a photo collage of some of the actual cast members. I shot them during a rehearsal, hence the sports jersey on the detective. The more I look at this, the more I like it better than the final poster because of the more interesting composition and the black-white-red colour combo looks bold and somewhat mysterious.

I also designed t-shirts with two front variations. These weren't based on cast members but friends I had pose specifically for the shirts.

The femme fatale:

...the hard-boiled detective:

...and the back of the shirt, which was identical for both front versions:

17 June 2009

2007 Toronto Fringe Festival Program Cover

10 3/4" x 8", ink and digital, 2007

My girlfriend, Krista, and I are watching the first season of "Slings and Arrows" for the first time (we're enjoying it immensely) and I was inspired to look for something Shakespearean to cleanse the palette of all the recent sports paintings. I first thought all I had was this painting but then remembered the Toronto Fringe Festival from a couple years ago. This illustration appeared on posters and t-shirts as well.

My concept was obviously an homage to the classic EC Comics covers from the mid-century. This was probably because I was working on my own comic book at the time (Weak Species), and had comics on my mind all the time.

A rundown of the "mysterious" characters: that's me in the fez/monocle/moustache combo; Krista is in the big hat; one of Krista's sock puppets from her same-socks puppet opera, "The Perfect Match"); and me modelling as the bard for the main illustration. The sock became so popular that I did additional illustrations for the program and flyers featuring a menagerie of other sock puppets...and someone even created a "Socky" doll that appeared at various venues during the festival (which was "kidnapped" at some point, if I remember correctly). I'll see if I can scrounge up those other illustrations...

The characters were drawn and inked by hand, then scanned, then coloured in Photoshop. The layout, circles & boxes, and the text (including the word balloons) were done in CorelDraw.

12 June 2009

Sportski en Plastique (Gretzky)

20" x 26", watercolour on Yupo, 2009

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm not a big sports fan, so I asked a few of my friends for suggestions as to which players in various sports would be good/interesting/popular/famous to paint. I chose Gretzky myself --cuz who doesn't know who Wayne Gretzky is?-- and figured this image (not my own photo) of him hoisting the Stanley Cup is as iconic as it gets.

I wanted to see if I could make an effective and recognizeable portrait of someone famous and, although I feel the likeness is pretty good, this desire prompted me to try another portrait (rather than a straight-up action scene) with Tiger Woods, which I think is even more successful.


10 June 2009

Michael Jordan (x 2)

Sportski en Plastique (Bulls)
26' x 20", watercolour (on Yupo), 2009, private collection

Michael Jordan
16" x 14", watercolour (on traditional watercolour paper), 1996, private collection

Here's another couple of paintings whose subject matter is separated by thirteen years. I did paint (but can't find) another basketball painting I did that was reminiscent of my early football painting, but the portrait of Michael Jordan (as #23) complements the action painting of him (as #45) better anyway.

You can see my technique "loosening up" in the earlier Jordan painting --and it isn't too bad. In retrospect, I should have explored that avenue further at the time, however, I think it'd be interesting to try my loose, spattery technique I'm employing for my Yupo-based paintings on regular watercolour paper and see how that works out.

Neither of these paintings is based on my own photography.



09 June 2009

Football (x 2)

Sportski en Plastique (Tackle)
20" x 26", watercolour (on Yupo), 2009, private collection

Football
15" x 11", watercolour (on traditional watercolour paper), 1996

What a difference thirteen years make.

In 1996, I tried changing my style a bit and loosen up a lot to create a more dynamic image of football players but, not that it's awful, the recent one on plastic is much more like what I had in mind at the time. Scale is also a factor: on a larger surface, I can play around in areas that would be too "tight" on a smaller surface, so size does have many advantages (especially where likenesses are concerned).

Neither of these paintings is based on my own photography.

03 June 2009

Sportski en Plastique (Tiger)

20" x 26", watercolour on Yupo, 2009

And here's Tiger Woods. I had some other reference (not my own photography, for the record) in which he appeared to be triumphantly roaring after what I assume was yet another particularly nice and successful shot, but as great as that picture was, I preferred this one since I wanted to do a portrait of him. I may yet still use that roaring pic...

My friend Tony tells me that "he always wears red on Sunday (traditionally the day the fourth and final round of a tournament is played) because it is his mother's favourite colour."

Some of these recent watercolours on plastic were in the show listed below:
____________________________________________
SpeakEasy's Annual Drawing and Painting Show
Discover the works of 25 local artisans at the 13th annual SpeakEasy Fine Art Show. Every year art lovers dash to the Gladstone to mingle with Toronto's best and brightest artists, and maybe even take home a treasure or two.

Time & Space:
Thursday June 4th, 8pm-MidnightThe Gladstone Hotel
Second Floor Lobby + Studio Rooms
1214 Queen Street West

For more information contact:
David Brown
email: david@blttogo.com
telephone: 416.533.1374
http://www.speakeasyto.com/


02 June 2009

Sportski en Plastique (Pujols)

20" x 26", watercolour on Yupo, 2009, private collection

Next up: sports.

Since my new style on Yupo was working so well with the automobiles (almost making them seem to be in motion while standing still), I figured this spattery style would work well with even more kinetically dynamic, action-oriented subjects. It also works well for making an impressionistic crowd of spectators.

Admittedly, I'm working with "found images" from the internet for these since flying or driving out to a bunch of games for only a handful of paintings would be prohibitive.

Another confession: I'm not a sports fan, so I had to petition my sports fan friends for suggestions about certain teams and players (though I already knew which sports I'd be painting). This guy here is Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals --nice hit, buddy!


01 June 2009

Cheval en Plastique


20" x 26", watercolour on Yupo, 2009

I was happy to shoot this mechanical horse on the sidewalk in front of a store in Vancouver (the same trip the reference for the swan was taken on) particularly because of the great sunlight. I also shot a reverse angle, but too much of the horse is in shadow, so, if I decide to use it for a painting, I'll have to make some adjustments (tricky, but not impossible).